VW launches its own ride-sharing service

Author: Duran Sarikaya
Date: 01.08.2018

After Hannover available in Hamburg soon

VW has founded a subsidiary for its own mobility service Moia. The “Ridesharing” is a public shuttle operation with VW-minibusses in Hannover, Lower Saxony. 140 drivers in 35 minibuses drive customers to the desired destination for a price between a taxi ride and a ride on public transport. Customers are summarized after a booking depending on the destitnations. The stops are determined depending on the customer’s request.

Previously, the shuttle was testes for 300 days with 230,000 trips, now it was officially launched on Monday. “On this day we earn the first euros” says Robert Henrich, CEO of Moia’s operating business. As the service generates fewer emissions, fewer cars on the roads and fewer empty runs, the idea is particularly attractive for big cities.

By the end of the year, Moia should also be introduced in other cities in northern Germany. “Hannover is the first city in which we should become an integral part of public mobility” said CEO Ole Harms. At the beginning of 2019, Moia should also start in Hamburg and the interest in other cities seems to be big. “Since we are better known, there is a huge rush from many cities” reported Henrich.

Most rides are shared

Driver Merve Bicak, 23 years old, talks about her experiences from day one: “Joining such a huge project is exciting.” Via a display, she can see where the next Moia customer is booking a trip and where she can pick him up. She is then guided to the destination with a navigation system. The display shows Bicak other customers that are looking for a ride. Also during the test phase with only 3500 users about half of the trips had been shared.

From Monday on, anyone who is interested can use the Moia app gradually in Hanover. “We will gradually unlock our customers due to the strong demand” says Heinrich. At the end of the year, Moia will be available to all citizens in Hanover, but right now there are not enough capacities available.

Cashless payment and even tips possible soon

The software was developed by a Finnish start-up and is constantly renewed. When customers book a trip, they become info about entry and exit times. They will also be notified of the costs debited from their account. “We will complete the app so that the drivers can also get tips. Incidentally, the suggestion came from the passengers” informs Henrich. This is currently not possible because of the automatic debiting procedure.

Prizes are raised now since the test period is over. Originally a ride cost 6 cents per person per kilometer. In normal business operations, the journey is more expensive: “It is estimated that rides in the city will cost between 5 and 7 euros, which is roughly halfway between public transport and taxis” says Henrich. The price also depends on the day of the week, the time of day and the supply and demand. When booking the ride, the final price will be displayed.

Electric buses used in Hamburg

At the beginning of 2019 Moia will start with its own, newly developed electric buses, which can accommodate up to six passengers in Hamburg. The vehicles were built together with VW in Osnabrück. By the end of 2020, at least 50 percent of vehicles should be electric in Hanover as well.

At first only 150 vehicles may be put into operation in Hannover, which will be increased to 250 vehicles in 2020. In Hamburg, a maximum of 500 vehicles are allowed to drive in the first two years. After that the amount can be extended in Hamburg as well. “The logistical effort is immense. In Hamburg alone, Moia will need five depots in the next few years. The required power connection is often not available for fast charging the vehicles” says Henrich. For each works council, Henrich estimates the demand at 3 to 5 megawatts: “That corresponds to a large wind turbine.”